The Intent of the Religious Studies Curriculum aims to help students learn about the world around them and how they fit into it. We believe RS plays a vital role in the development of our students, ensuring that by the time their education at Dene Magna is over, they are able to make judgements and contributions to the world around them. At Dene Magna, we hope students, when they become adults, will leave the Forest of Dean, discover the world and then return to pass on their wisdom to future generations. RS at Dene Magna aims to make that goal less daunting and more achievable.
The Forest of Dean has limited religious diversity. However we have access to more diverse communities in Gloucester and also in the larger conurbations that surround the Forest. This environment means there is an imperative to ‘bring the world’ to our students and RS plays a central role in developing that cultural awareness and understanding of the modern world and its plurality of beliefs.
During the lockdown students continued to follow the RS curriculum. They were able to be exposed to a variety of resources and stimuli, however there was an impact on their ability to discuss issues and explore their beliefs and responses to issues with others. Regaining that confidence, and understanding of the skills and ‘etiquette’ of discussion has formed a core part of our response to the lockdown. Lockdown has also drawn into sharp focus ethical issues and understanding of community and our place within it.
While learning about both theist and atheist beliefs and practices, students will be challenged to construct well thought out, balanced arguments about ideas and concepts. They will be taught not just about specific religions but also expected to thoroughly engage in thought provoking and challenging topics such as the existence of a god or gods, the afterlife and human suffering.
In year 7-9 we introduce students to the main religions of the world, beginning with Christianity. They are also introduced to philosophy and ethics. By the end of KS3, our intention is that they will have good knowledge of religious thoughts and ideas, an understanding of difficult philosophical concepts as well as an ability to reflect on their own thoughts and beliefs.
In KS4 core RS, students learn about a whole range of moral and ethical issues relevant to the lives of our students. The intention is to help them develop an understanding that there is not always a “right answer”, and that life can throw up many challenges which they may have to deal with as adults. We intend to equip them with the knowledge they may need and an understanding of different thoughts and ideas from a religious perspective, mainly, but not solely, based on Christianity as the main religion of the UK.
The GCSE syllabus aims to develop knowledge and understanding of Christianity and Islam. GCSE students learn the importance of understanding the faiths and practices of others and how sources of wisdom and authority play a guiding role in people’s lives. Students also study Religion, Philosophy and Ethics in the modern world and focus on topics such as war, medical ethics and different types of relationships. Studying these topics allows students to gain an understanding of the world around them. Students also develop skills in analysis and evaluation. The teaching and learning of the GCSE is supportive whilst encouraging independent learning and initiative. These are some of the vital skills needed to flourish both academically and personally in the Sixth Form.